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State v. Herrera

March 24, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANA HERRERA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Municipal Appeal No. 23-2006.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 5, 2008

Before Judges Cuff, Lisa and Simonelli.

Defendant, Ana Herrera, appeals from her conviction after a trial de novo in the Law Division, see R. 3:23-8(a), of obstructing administration of law, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1a, for which she was sentenced to pay a $350 fine, together with costs and mandatory assessments. Defendant argues:

I. THE DECISION OF THE LAW DIVISION JUDGE MUST BE REVERSED AS THERE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT CREDIBLE EVIDENCE PRESENT IN THE RECORD TO UPHOLD THE FINDINGS OF THE LAW DIVISION.

II. THE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DISMISS THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT/APPELLANT FOR VIOLATION OF HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO A SPEEDY TRIAL AND TO CONFRONT WITNESSES AGAINST HER.

A. SPEEDY TRIAL AND RIGHT TO CONFRONT WITNESSES.

B. DISCOVERY AS IT RELATES TO RIGHT TO CONFRONT WITNESSES.

III. THE CONVICTION MUST BE DISMISSED AS THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD FOR THE LAW DIVISION JUDGES TO FIND THAT THE STATE PROVED THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

We reject these arguments and affirm.

On June 26, 2002, defendant, in the company of another woman and Tony Amador, was seen walking up to the corner of Livingston Avenue and Comstock Street in New Brunswick. A wake was being held at a funeral home located on Livingston Avenue. Police believed the deceased was a gang member who had been killed by members of a rival gang. Because of the potential volatility of the situation, police were assigned to monitor the wake.

Sergeant Royce Cradic*fn1 recognized Amador and defendant. Cradic believed that Amador was associated with the rival gang, and Cradic was aware of an outstanding contempt of court warrant for Amador. Cradic confirmed with dispatch that the warrant was still outstanding, and he broadcasted instructions by radio for other officers in the area to arrest Amador.

Officers Hayes and Santiago approached Amador and informed him they were arresting him on the warrant. As Hayes was placing Amador under arrest, defendant became "pretty hysterical, verbally abusive to [the officers], and yelling and screaming," using profanities. Defendant remained at close quarters with the officers, continuing to scream and yell at them, and continuing to disobey their commands to leave the area. After defendant got too close to the officers, Hayes directed her to get back and ...


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